Jul 23, 2023

Our Investment in H2Ok Innovations

H2Ok Innovations is developing a mesh sensor system and software for detecting contamination in industrial liquids.

Alex Iskold

Born to Innovate

Some studies show that entrepreneurship is literally in your blood. That is, entrepreneurial traits may be genetic.

It was clear from the first moment I met Annie and David Lu that the sister-brother team was meant to launch a startup sooner or later.

It was sooner: David was just finishing up his undergrad in Chemistry and Computer Science at Brown University and Annie was a sophomore at Harvard focusing on Economics and Computer Science when the siblings’ interest in water evolved into plans to start a company. 

Turning An Idea Into Reality

The two became obsessed with understanding how water and other industrial liquids get contaminated. They launched H2Ok, developed a few iterations, and ended up joining Techstars’ Farm to Fork accelerator where they connected with Cargill, EcoLab and other industry giants. 

Annie and David recognized the flaws in contamination measurement methods currently used by plants and factories for industrial liquids. Expensive, monolithic sensors measure contamination manually and infrequently. The duo came up with the idea to replace this outdated system with a swarm of commoditized sensors to precisely detect contaminants in real time.

At 2048 ventures, we are obsessed with API and data businesses. Annie and David’s idea was a perfect match; we believe their product - spectroscopy-based, commoditized sensors able to generate real-time contamination information - is the future. 

At its core, H2Ok is a data and API company. Data is collected in real time and fed back into several systems, including dashboards that can generate alerts.This data then is fed into a system that regulates chemicals used to treat water and other liquids.

Today’s early customers are already seeing the power of H2Ok’s system.

Because the data is detected in real time, customers are able to track the exact level of contamination and the amount of chemicals needed to treat the water as it is happening. Factories and plants currently spend an eye-popping $100 billion on chemicals, and the H2Ok system is already proving to be able to cut that amount by 30%.

You already know where this story is going - Annie dropped out of Harvard and we led H2Ok’s pre-seed round, joined by our friends at Flybridge and 1517.

Fast forward to 2022 we enthusiastically co-led H2Ok Seed round with our friend Dayna Grayson at Construct. 

You can read an in-depth profile on Annie, David and H2OK over at CNBC including the coverage of their $6.8M raise. 

I am so grateful to my friend Brett Brohl for this introduction. 

Every call with Annie and David leaves me incredibly energized. They belong to a type of young, visionary, tireless founders that are a true pleasure to work with. They don’t know that walls exist and that’s why they go through them. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Signup to get quarterly updates and important announcements from 2048 Ventures.